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What the LOGAN'S RUN Remake Could Have Been

By Jarrod Sarafin, News Editor     October 06, 2007
Source: Patrick at Back Row Chatter


Michael York and Jenny Agutter in the original LOGAN's RUN(1976).
© MGM

I'd like to open this discussion to everyone here at Mania and not just a few people. For the past few weeks, if you keep up with our various comments attached to articles, you would have read an occasional open dialogue between our readers and myself on the value of "script" news on the web. While some script related news are factual and credible, the majority of news is something closer to the unsubstantiated category. A news site will come along saying "Hey, I got the script for the DARK KNIGHT and this is what happens" and three weeks later, another news site will pop up saying they too have read a script for the film and the previous site was dead wrong. This happens in the world of entertainment news and the majority of these scripts are hardly ever accurate when it comes to the final print which hits the theater come release time. The reason, other then the script itself being outdated and news sites falling over each other in hopes of the next breaking scoop, frequently happens because of the direction the studio desires vs. what the director and screenwriter wants.

Case in point is the script review and script thoughts I'm about to link to you loyal readers. Before I do that, I'll provide a little back history to the LOGAN'S RUN remake history. Be patient with me, I just want to walk you through this from beginning to end. This project has been gathering dust on the shelves in development hell since around 1995 when Warner Bros first expressed their interest in remaking this 1976 cult classic. For years, they tried getting it out of the planning stages and time after time, they failed to reach a point where pre-production was even close to getting off the studio executive's boardroom floor. Then, in the spring of 2000, director Skip Woods entered negotiations to remake this classic in hopes of making it more accurate to the 1967 novel by authors William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. This too, readers, fell through in the end delegating it back to development hell for a few more years.

While everyone was celebrating the new year of 2004, Warner Bros executives were planning two highly anticipated projects on their respective horizons. One was the return of SUPERMAN to the big screen after such a long hiatus from the silver screen. The other film on their minds at the time was this long shelved remake of Logan's trials against his dystopian future society. Who did they have in mind to lead both projects? In point of fact, it was the same man. By March of 2004, Bryan Singer was entering the planning stage of SR while also being hired to develop the remake of Logan. At this point, Warner Bros and Singer hoped to have the remake in theaters at the latest by 2005. As you know, this didn't happen. Singer first hired X2 scribe Dan Harris as well as scribes Ethan Gross and Paul Todisco to pen the script for the remake alongside him.  Around December of 2004 (while SR was still in its planning stages but being near to production), scribe Harris told the media that a completed script was ready to go for the Logan remake from him and Singer for Warner Bros. Their script would feature more action sequences then the original version directed by Michael Anderson. For reasons we do not know, this script fell through in the end though it is believed due to budget concerns and differences of opinion between WB and Singer's vision. Now, we're reaching the point which involves the script review below. The film as it could have been had Warner Bros approved of the film and kept Bryan Singer as director. In February of 2006, Chris McQuarrie was hired to do rewrites on the script treatment for Warner Bros. At this same time, it was announced that production would begin on this remake by no later as that fall (after the summer release of Singer's SR) but as we also know, this too didn't come true. By August of that year, the production offices dedicated to this remake were turned over to the pre-production of the SPEED RACER films for the Wachowski brothers. Now, here we are, readers. A new director(Joseph Kosinski) has been attached and a new screenwriter (Tim J. Sexton) has been brought aboard to perform yet more rewrites or a different take on the 76 cult classic.

You know the backstory for this project. Now, it's time to see the version you would have seen had Bryan Singer and his screenwriters had their chance to lead the project for Warner Bros. Patrick at Back Row Chatter had a chance to read the script as it could have been and reviewed it for everyone to read. To read it, click here.

This is why you can never tell how a script will translate to the final version even when the film itself is in pre-production or filming (JLA and Indiana Jones respectively). You never can tell if script details have been changed or if the version a news site is pronouncing knowledge on is outdated or has been changed/rejected by the studio itself. Once upon a time, studio executives were telling George Lucas how his SW script is a recipe for disaster & failure in the mid 70s. Even when they finally greenlit the production for his first film, they expressed their doubts on the concept and the film. I guess we can consider ourselves lucky on that score because if that experience didn't distance GL from the normal attitudes of Hollywood executives, we may have never seen Skywalker Sound, Industrial Light & Magic or Pixar (with the help of Ed Catmull, George Lucas and Steve Jobs) being created on Skywalker Ranch.

This same kind of attitude from what some people call the suits has occurred many times throughout cinematic history and it will continue to happen in the future. As a Carpenter fanatic, I can point to one very clear example towards the Escape from New York franchise. I'm sure all of you have your own thoughts on the sequel to his cult classic, Escape From L.A. Well, would you like to read how the Escape sequel could have been? If you want to, read here.

Enough from me though...Let's hear your thoughts on scripts.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 19
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metalwater 10/6/2007 6:33:42 AM
I read the Logan's Run movie review that's linked to Latino Review via UGO and found it to be really great. I can't wait to see the movie!!!
spiderhero 10/6/2007 7:11:01 AM
Star Wars was a lousy script. If you watch the DVD extras, you learn that Lucas can't write or direct but the editor he brought in (I forget his name) took a bunch of crap & turned it into the movie we all love.
metalwater 10/6/2007 7:26:42 AM
The editor wasn't a he, it was a she...George Lucas' then wife, who Lucas credits with saving the film--however, I have personally read the script...and it is truly a great script...and yet perfectly streamlined considering the great volumes of information and descriptions that it entails. Lucas may have had troubles with his shoot of the film, but the script is perfect. And you should remember, he was trying to create a world for the first time...and if you have ever tried to write...or written sci-fi before, that is not easy, especially when you are building a world with its own rules, technologies, political system, races, various planets, religions, legends, lingo, and environment, completely out of nothing. By the way, I have also read other versions of the script which featured the Star Killer in it...and a crystal, I believe was called the Kiber Crystal. Anyway...that was a great one too...and just as satisfying as the story we have all come to know and love...a sort of alternate world version of the original Star Wars film script, but close enough that you would easily recognize it. The script even had an equally amazing and climatic Death Star battle. You should read the script(s) for yourself by looking it (them) up online. Download it (them) for future reference, if you wish to be a writer someday...this is the script (and or scripts) to teach you how to write...by example. And trust me, I have read some bad scripts before...like Scream 2 and Klute. As for his part, Lucas has a natural ease about writing...however, of the last 25 years, he has been more interested in supporting toy lines and not offending anyone in the audience to write a really strong script. He even cut the best part out of The Revenge Of The Sith script, where Obi Wan's master returns as a ghost to teach Yoda how to return from the dead and live forever--it is a great story element that Lucas really needs to film while he has a chance, and cut it into the movie.
MutantNinjaLoungeSingr 10/6/2007 10:42:05 AM
I've not read the script, but (like just about everyone else here), I've seen the movies. Lucas can tell a good story, but his ability to craft dialog is abysmal. He's been lucky to get the casts he's been able to get (ok, with the exception of the Anakin's in the prequels), because any other actors delivering those awful lines wouldn't be able to pull it off and make it believable.
filmnotmovie 10/6/2007 1:54:39 PM
Haven't read the script, but we all know how things work in the movie industry. Not only are there numerous and radical changes in a script from conception to birth, but just look at how many times footage seen in trailers fails to make the final cut. The problem lies with the actual "Logan's Run" novel. This is a pretty dull novel with WAY too much exposition. Substantial changes to that snoozer would have to made before production begins. The original movie (and I am a fan) doesn't hold up too well these days. Certainly, some of its political ideas are relevant today. However, the look and feel of the movie seem embarrassingly antiquated. Here's hoping that can be fixed.
metalwater 10/6/2007 7:51:23 PM
You know, my only problem with the Revenge Of The Sith script was the opening. In the original script, the sabre fights went on far too long...as clearly, this was a reaction to the long fight sequences in The Matrix films...and although trimmed greatly from the written page...the final product that was filmed was still much too long and repetitive. Now, on page...the dialogue worked much better but, Lucas lost the film on three accounts. 1.) He picked a horrible actor(s) to play Anakin. According to industry rumors...he could have had Haley Joel Osment as the childhood Anakin but passed him over for the horrible kid who eventually got the role. As for the adult Anakin...I think we all know he was horrible!!! Now...dialogue coming out of any of their mouths was going to be bad, no matter what it was---even if it had been written by Shakespear himself, that is just a reality. 2.) Lucas seems to have lost his ability to direct. ...and 3.) Lucas seems too focused on trying to avoid offending families...specifically...parents. As a parent himself, he is now catering, more than a little too much, to children...turning the latter Star Wars films, including Return Of The Jedi, into overly kid friendly toy commercials. The original Jedi script featured Leia and Luke becoming lovers--not sister and brother, Leia picking Luke over Han Solo, Han and Chewie dying in the battle with the new Deathstar by intentionally doing a suicide run on its core (and ramming it, thus causing the new Deathstar to explode), and an army of Wookies took down the Storm Troopers... and planet bound Imperial Officers, not the teddy bear shaped Ewoks!!! As for the "another hope" as Yoda put it to Obi Wan in Empire, and who that character was: I don't know if it was Leia in that version of the script, or somebody else. Gary Kurtz, the original Star Wars trilogy producer, fail-out with Lucas over the last minute script changes--as well, Harrison Ford strongly disagreed with Lucas' new direction of the script. Toy sales seemed to become more important at that point...and was the only thing that seemed to take priority, forget the script...it became about financial weallth from toy tie-in deals(!!!)...and the rest is history. Now you know why all the prequel movies sucked!!!
wrrlykam 10/7/2007 5:38:19 AM
Well that script was far from the film and miles from the book. It changed the story so far from the book that the film looks like a super accuate adpation. It really wasn't the close adaption they claimed to be making. Some of the minor details sounded cool, so I hope they get added.
laforcer69@yahoo.com_home 10/7/2007 6:33:49 AM
metalwater...Sorry but your wrong about the editors...Lucas was shocked when his editor's first cut of the film was a "complete disaster." After attempting to persuade the original editor to cut the film his way, Lucas replaced the editor with Paul Hirsch and Richard Chew. He also allowed his then-wife Marcia Lucas to aid the editing process...She played a small part but since she was his wife he gave her more credit than she deserved although she in her own right is a good editor, it was Hirsch and Chew that really made Star Wars come together along with a good script...Lucas can create worlds and universes but he can't do dialog for shit and because it was the late 70's early 80's does his dialog come off as not being so lame and fit in with that era...Here we are in the year 2000 and his dialog is still just as bad but we don't buy it in this day and age...By the way Lucas never had the ability to direct and he has said so, that is one of the reasons he did not direct Empire or Return which were far superior in acting than New Hope...And he is not catering to families, he is catering to the toy industry with the hopes of selling a shit load of toys and making money and the changes you mention with Luke and Leia and Han were his reasoning to make a more compelling story...Yes we all know why the prequels sucked to a certain degree, because Lucas is a bad director with dollar signs in his eyes...
metalwater 10/7/2007 9:28:57 PM
I'm not wrong, I directly quoted George Lucas...who BTW, has no reason to give accolades to his ex-wife considering that she left him for another, and much younger, man. In fact, he has every motive to slam his ex wife and not give her serious credit for the edit...but as I said, he still holds to his quote that she saved Star Wars with her edit of the film. As for Lucas' directing skills, he did three great films as a director: THX-1138, American Graffiti, and Star Wars. I think those movies speak to his ability as a director. As for American Graffiti, you'll note, that Lucas is the first writer, and or, director to split a film into 4 inter-connected tales. Since then, numerous Hollywood and international productions have followed suit...copying this style of film making...the most famous of these films, is none other than Pulp Fiction. As far as why Lucas didn't direct Empire, he began to have heart palpitations while filming Star Wars. He thought he was having a heart attack due to the pressures he received while making the film. Among those pressures: The English film crew working on the movie...was openly laughing behind Lucas' back...as they assumed that the film would bomb. Meanwhile, Francis Ford Coppola, his mentor, stole his script for Apocalypse Now (which Lucas wrote)...and began shooting it as a film. Apocalypse Now was supposed to be Lucas' next film after he finished Star Wars--so you can imagine how upset he was with Coppola. The two friends broke-off their friendship for years over the situation...that on top of the fact that Coppola always felt that Lucas should have shared his Star Wars profits with him...simply because he discovered Lucas and backed him against a powerful head exec at Universal Studios who verbally attacked Lucas at the end of the first studio screening of American Graffiti--this in front of a full audience of studio employees. The exec thought the film was horrible and would bomb at the box office. Well, Francis shouted the exec down...face to face--a fight that became legendary in the industry. The film went on to make over a 100 million dollars at the box office--the 2nd film to do so in history: The 1st being The Godfather--Ironically...Coppola didn't want to direct the film, but Lucas urged him to take the assignment due to the fact that Coppola's company...American Zoetrope (spelling???) was on the verge of going broke. But, I digress...back to the period when Lucas was shooting Star Wars and having heart palpitations. At the same time...back home, the effects team only had several minutes of the special effects shot, and millions were already spent developing the FX equipment. This was just two to three months before the film was set to open...and the movie wasn't assembled yet...and only two effects shots had been completed. And in regard to his heart palpitations...ironically, Steven Spielberg...Lucas' best friend, had experienced heart palpitations while filming Jaws...also due to stress. Both men considered giving up directing because of it!!! Lucas kept his promise for over 20 years before returning to the director's chair...however, Spielberg continued on. This is all factual information!!!
laforcer69@yahoo.com_home 10/8/2007 2:25:09 AM
metalwater...I guess I will say it one more time, you are wrong about his ex wife editing Star Wars...Lucas replaced the original editor with Paul Hirsch and Richard Chew. He also allowed his then-wife Marcia Lucas to aid the editing process...And everything else you talked about is nothing that none of us don't already know except how you are wrong about heart palpitations...There is nothing you can't tell me about Spielberg or Lucas which neither had heart palpitations...Lucas was diagnosed with hypertension and exhaustion and was warned to reduce his stress level the same with Spielberg, it's called stress...Try studying and looking up the info before shooting off and thinking you are 100% right... There is this site called Wikipedia and can tell you everything you want to know about it...
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